Oil Sanctions on Iran Will Benefit Russia. Here’s How. U.S. sanctions on Tehran create a strategic opportunity for Moscow. The main feature of the new U.S. sanctions policy against Iran is its unilateral nature. This time, Washington is acting without broad international support, which was brought the Islamic Republic to the JCPOA negotiations table in the first place. Though this policy is risky, it might prove that the unilateral approach of the Trump administration to foreign policy is effective. There are many factors putting the success of sanctions in jeopardy. Among them is Russ

The World Cup: Russia Exercises Soft Power Moscow is back in the spotlight for a very different reason than in the recent past. One can compare the 2018 World Cup to the 2014 Winter Olympics—the same country, under the leadership of the same president, organizes a global sports event. However, the differences are more interesting. Arguably, no other competition on the planet, including the Olympic games, attracts a broader audience than the World Cup. In 2014, Sochi, a resort town, enjoyed all the global attention; today the soccer championship takes place all over the European part of

The U.S. withdrawal shows that American sanctions against one country can have negative, “collateral” effects on others. Changes in international relations and world politics rarely happen overnight. Rather, the flow of events makes international actors reconsider their tactics and strategy, adjusting policies in order to achieve their goals. Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—better known as the Iran nuclear agreement—is important by itself. However, its long-term influence may be even more significant. A lot was said and written


When opening the meeting with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Vladimir Putin reminded him that the Soviet Union was the first country to recognize the kingdom in 1926. Yet in the decades that followed Saudi Arabia turned to be one of Moscow’s staunchest opponents in the region. However, times have changed and Salman became the first king to visit Moscow. Furthermore, it seems that the King’s visit jump-started Saudi-Russian cooperation of unprecedented scale. Analyzing the prospects for this cooperation, two facts are especially interesting to notice. First, there are many Western accusati

August 29, 2017 - 1:18pm, by Nikolay Pakhomov If any single arms deal can capture the shifting nature of Russian cooperation in the post-Cold War era, it is the pending sale of S-400 air defense systems to Turkey that now looks increasingly likely to happen. The S-400 is an advanced integrated system capable of simultaneously tracking 300 targets and striking them from up to 250 miles away. The fact that Russia would consider shipping them to Turkey—a longtime member of NATO, and once considered to be the alliance’s southeastern bulwark against the Soviet Union—would have been unth

15.08.2017 Nikolay Pakhomov — Rethinking Russia expert When US President Trump on August 2 signed a bill that reinforces and expands to some extent sanctions on Moscow, the anti-Russian campaign emerged somewhat divorced from real policy-making. The bill has clarified the Congress position on the matter, with the ongoing investigation into Trump’s and his acolytes’ alleged ties with Russia shifting public attention to the legal aspect. While lambasting Trump, some intellectuals seek to establish nominal correlations between the US president and Russia and to draw historical paralle

A reinvigorated discussion of Russia’s energy policy in Europe has recently become part of the debate in Washington over new sanctions against Moscow. This discussion is worth having: on the one hand, it shows that not everybody in Europe considers energy cooperation with Russia harmful or dangerous. On the other, the argument reminds us that Russia’s energy expansion in Europe is, to a significant degree, based on economic reasoning rather than political doctrine. Anybody who has seen a pipe knows that it has two ends. Accordingly, any pipeline built to bring Russian natural gas to Eur

27.06.2017 The US Constitution vests the president, the head of the executive branch, with considerable power to formulate the country’s foreign policy. Regardless of the proactive stance of some Congressmen in dealing with external issues, America’s foreign policy has historically been shaped by presidents, their temperament, experience, ideological leanings, and quite often it has been affected by their domestic policy. The latter can be central to understanding and forecasting the Trump administration’s steps related to Russia. Nowadays only the elites can initiate and introduce c

The conflict between Qatar and the alliance of Muslim countries led by Saudi Arabia emphasizes that today’s international relations, at least in the Middle East, are closer to the classical model of domination, rivalries and coalitions defined by national interests than to post–Cold War dreams of a world politics free of conflicts, and based on liberal consensus and cooperation. Among the major powers, Russia might be the best prepared to act within such an order. Today, there is no power in the Middle East that is not talking to Moscow. This dialogue is based on the clear understanding of